Qualification

Bachelor of Social Work

Overview

This highly regarded interdisciplinary degree will immerse you in theory and practice, equipping you thoroughly for a wide range of people-related jobs.

The BSW at UC is New Zealand’s most established Social Work programme. The programme is ideal for those who wish to focus their studies on helping people. Graduates provide professional assistance to those experiencing difficulties in their lives and in their communities.

Features of the Bachelor of Social Work at UC

  • May be awarded with honours
  • Internationally recognised qualification
  • New Zealand's longest-established Social Work programme
  • Graduates in high demand
  • The BSW has a strong practical component, leading up to 80% fieldwork in your fourth and final year
  • Field placements see students working within social service agencies and the community

Entry requirements

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

Some degrees have additional entry and course requirements; please check the Regulations for the Bachelor of Social Work for full details. 

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Qualification structure and duration

The Bachelor of Social Work requires a total of 480 points:

Elective streams

In your first year, you will take three compulsory courses in Social Work and four courses in Human Services, Psychology and Sociology according to one of four elective streams.

Third year and beyond

Entry to Social Work courses at 300-level and above is competitive. If you choose not to continue with the Bachelor of Social Work you can credit courses at 100 and 200-level can be a BA with a major in Human Services.

In your fourth year, 80% of your work will be made up of field work. This is a great opportunity for you to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have gained. You will need a full driving license to undertake field work placements and must be prepared to travel out of Christchurch. 

Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Social Work

Year 1
SOWK101
SOWK102
SOWK104
HSRV103
PSYC105 or 106
100 Level SOCI
PSYC or SOCI 100 Level
TREO or MAOR 100 Level
Year 2
SOWK 201
SOWK 202
SOWK 203
HSRV 204
HSRV 206
MAOR 212
200 Level
200 Level
Year 3
SOWK301
SOWK303
SOWK304
SOWK308
SOWK309
SOWK310
Year 4
SOWK451
SOWK456
SOWK471
SOWK472
  •  
    Compulsory Social Work courses
  •  
    Compulsory Human Services and Maori courses
  •  
    Elective streams - Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, Maori and Indigenous Studies or Te Reo Maori courses

Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points or more.

Subjects and courses

Elective Stream 1 (Human Services)

(a) 45 points in Sociology or Psychology at 100-level;and
(b) 30 points in Human Services at 200-level.

Elective Stream 2 (Sociology)

(a) 30 points in Sociology at 100-level, including SOCI111 Exploring Society and SOCI112 Global Society or their equivalents; and
(b) 15 points in Psychology at 100-level, including either PSYC105 Introductory Psychology - Brain, Behaviour and Cognition or PSYCH106 Introductory Psychology - Social, Personality and Developmental or their equivalents; and
(c) 30 points in Sociology at 200-level.

Elective Stream 3 (Psychology)

(a) 30 points in Psychology at 100-level, including PSYC105 Introductory Psychology - Brain, Behaviour and Cognition or PSYCH106 Introductory Psychology - Social, Personality and Developmental or their equivalents; and
(b) 15 points in Sociology at 100-level, including SOCI111 Exploring Society and SOCI112 Global Society or their equivalents; and
(c) 30 points in Psychology at 200-level, including PSYC206 Research Design and Statistics.

Elective Stream 4 (Māori and Indigenous Studies/Te Reo)

(a) 30 points in Sociology at 100-level, including SOCI111 Exploring Society and SOCI112 Global Society or their equivalents; and
(b) 15 points in Psychology at 100-level, including PSYC105 Introductory Psychology - Brain, Behaviour and Cognition or PSYCH106 Introductory Psychology - Social, Personality and Developmental or their equivalents; and
(c) 30 points in Māori and Indigenous Studies or Te Reo Māori at 200-level.

Note: Prerequisites, restrictions and limitations may apply as shown in the BA Schedule.

Recommended preparation

While no particular school subjects are required, a background in subjects promoting communication skills such as English, history, geography or te reo Māori is useful. 

Volunteer work in the community is also good preparation.

Statistics is useful for the further study of Social Work.

How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

Further study

Postgraduate qualifications

Career opportunities

Social Work graduates work in a wide variety of jobs, including as community development workers, therapists, counsellors, case managers, field workers, youth workers, probation officers, iwi social workers, hospital social workers, service coordinators, policy analysts and researchers.

In New Zealand, social workers are employed in both the state and private sectors, providing direct and indirect services. Direct services include those for children, families, the aged, people who have committed offences, and people with disabilities. Indirect services encompass social sector planning, administration and research.

Graduates are also highly employable overseas, particularly in the UK and Australia.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Social Work.

More information

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Social Work.

For more information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students) or visit the Liaison Office’s course planning page (new students), or a College of Arts Student Advisor (advancing students).